Beginning in 2014, however, all hospitals, physicians and other so-called eligible professionals in the program will be required to submit clinical quality measures electronically.
The report findings call into question hospital readiness for that transition.
The four hospitals participating in the study were not named in the report, but each had “significant experience with EHRs” before passage of the ARRA and “each uses a different EHR vendor,” the three-page report summary (PDF) said.
The bottom line of the study findings is that “automated quality reporting does not yet deliver on the promise of feasibly generating valid and reliable measures or reducing the reporting burden placed on hospitals.”
The report finds four problem areas with the federally promoted electronic clinical quality measures reporting program:
- An unrealistic timeline that pushes compliance with federal reporting requirements “in advance of adequate development, vetting and testing of eCQM specifications for feasibility and clinical validity.”
- Technology that “could not draw relevant data from other systems and could not efficiently generate accurate measure results.”
- The additional burden reporting places on clinical workload without perceived improvements to patient care.
- Excessive effort spent on reporting “that negatively affected other strategic priorities.”
On that last point, the report specifically notes hospitals in the study group spent time and effort on their eCQM program but were unable to validate their results, which meant “hospitals saw no return on investment” in the program. That “damaged credibility of hospital leadership” and the federal EHR incentive payment program as a whole, it said.
Among several recommendations, the AHA said the pace of the eCQM program should be slowed down, fewer measures should be required and those that are required should be carefully tested “for reliability and validity before adopting them in national programs.”
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